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August 22 Weekly Open Thread: To Save or To Scrap?

Lincoln Wagon Just like real estate, they're not making some really cool, older, lustable cars any more. Many have been well preserved or restored, hopefully heading for a museum some day. But others have fallen into poor repair and are being crushed, parted out, or even sent to demolition derbies to "entertain" us as noble gladiators once did in the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Please witness a Lincoln Continental station wagon, maybe a 1976 model, whose fate is unknown. As this image was taken, the owner was trying to decide if it would be a good candidate for restoration, or should it bid adieu in a blaze of glory during some Saturday night smash-'em-up.

Lincoln Wagon front end This wagon started life as a fully-loaded Mercury Colony Park, then received Lincoln Continental badging, opera windows, a vinyl roof treatment, some gaudy chrome pieces, the signature faux spare tire-humped rump skillfully crafted into the wagon's tailgate, and possibly a Lincoln front end like this one on the left.

I think that tailgate is the most interesting part of the car; I wish the owner had also included a front view of the car to see if the Lincoln upright grille had been fitted.

Personally, I'd hate to see this car go. Its rarity aside, this may be the ultimate expression of modern American automotive excess. Other than a few Cadillac station wagons (I had the pleasure of riding in Elvis' Caddy wagon once), there weren't many full-size premium luxury wagons built. Today's SUVs may have taken the ultimate prize for size, but they are trucks, not cars. And this wagon was built just before "downsizing" became a popular Detroit pastime.

So as a suggested topic this week, how do you feel about an older, tattered, but possibly collectible vehicle like this one getting scrapped? Personally, I'd love to see this wagon restored to its full glory and displayed for folks to see. Why? Because like visual history, once it's gone, it's lost forever.

And of course, this Car Lust Weekly Open Thread is the place for other random, off-topic conversations that just don't belong anywhere else.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: This Lincoln Continental wagon photo was found at PictureTrail.com. The Lincoln front end image is from AutoTraderClassics.com.

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Personally, I hate to see cars like this go. Maybe because I lust after mediocre cars from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, or maybe it is because I tend to see them and think about them a little...well...romantically. Not like I am in love with them, but I think of all the miles of service, the family trips, the years with a seed salesman riding around in them or whatever, and I feel a little sad. Kind of like in "The Brave Little Toaster" when the cars are getting crushed and singing about their lives. Once the car is gone its history kind of goes with it. That is why I am always pulling for restoration.

It's the prototype for the Wagon Queen Family Truckster!

This Saturday, there is a Studebaker-Packard car show at Summit Racing's retail store just east of Akron (I-76 at Exit 29). I will be in attendance as Car Lust's roving reporter.

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and argue a vehicle should be saved, but the reality is often that scrap value may be greater than cash-in-hand value to a potential restorer. Add to that the hassle of trying to sell a 'backwaters of automotive history' vehicle, and it's easy to see why someone would decide that the end of the road has come.

I'm facing just that decision with a 1950 International L-170 grain truck I bought to refurbish for hay haulage but just don't have the time to mess with, plus the 1969 F-100 pickup I (and my sons) learned to drive in, which recently accumulated so many issues that I had to park it alongside the Binder and get a newer ('95!) pickup for farm and landfill runs.

There's a lot of memories in the old pickup, but the cost to restore would never pay off in resale value, and it would basically only bring scrap rate as it sits...

And that basic point of indecision is why so many cars end up rotting into the ground behind some forlorn outbuilding, once loved, but now forgotten...

Once a car is well restored you can repay a part of the restoration by going to car shows and win prizes, but it always depend on how skillful you are when it comes to restoring the car...

Yes, unfortunately, the only way most cars like this will ever get restored is because of fondness by the owner, not for any financial considerations. I spent quite a bit of money getting my Mustang II restored (mainly just paint and upholstery, really) and modifying the engine, none of it really worth the potential sales value. But I did it more out of a sense of history and the personal satisfaction I get out of driving around in a time capsule of sorts.

I agree with alot that res had to say - personally I dig the land barges of the 60s-80s, most cars people despise for whatever reason, but I've always had a soft spot for them. And I'd love to restore all of them if I could (well, most of them, anyway...), but very often there just isn't a practical case for doing so other than a strictly emotional one.

Take that Colony Park wagon, for example. If I could restore it to original standards and remove all the ridiculous "Lincoln-esque" styling touches, I'd love to. BUT... good luck finding parts for a beast like that (walk into a parts yard and say you're looking for a bodyside molding for a 76 Colony Park wagon and look at the blank stares you'll likely recieve in return). Plus, even if you could, what's the market value of a fully-restored 76 Colony Park wagon? It's probably not even a blip on the collector market radar.

That's not saying that if I could happen to find one still in great shape that I wouldn't love to have one... just for the sheer hell of it. ;-)

I hate to see any car scrapped but that one doesn't look like a great candidate for restoration. It is interesting no doubt but not lust worthy.

What is the status of this wagon? Was it restored? Scrapped? Forgotten in a garage or barn somewhere?

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Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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